The Villages Special Cruisers

Contributed by Ed Sindoni


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Every third Saturday of the month, throughout the year, the car clubs of The Villages and participants from the surrounding communities, have an opportunity to share their vehicles with hundreds of spectators.  Even though this is still considered to be “slow season”, as those seeking a winter getaway have yet to arrive, there were still over 200 show vehicles both in November and December.

EAS_3482-X4Many of the cars are faithful followers of this monthly activity, such as Will Vermilya with his 1968 Highland Green Mustang Convertible.  He is third owner of this matching numbers Ford, having purchased it in Sayre, Pennsylvania on January 28, 1999.  This car has spent its entire life in PA, NY, VA, and now FL.   Will has owned five Mustangs to date starting back to 1965 while he was still in college.  He currently has this one and a ‘99 Mustang Cobra convertible. Upon purchasing the ‘68, he began his job as general contractor for the rebuild.

The majority of the body work was completed by high school students at the Broome-Tioga BOCES center in Binghamton, NY under the direction of Fred Maliwacki.  Final touches were by retired body shop owner Roland Hurlbert and mechanical work by Michael Murray’s Automotive Restoration Service.

Many awards have been earned by this classic, and two of the most prestigious  are a 1st Place National Trophy at a spring meet of the AACA in 2007 in Binghamton, and a Best Mustang at the Black Diamond Invitational Car Show in 2017.   Will does not treat this beauty as a “trailer queen”, but chooses to drive this 289 automatic to shows and even in the local holiday parades around the Lady Lake area.  He even allows spectators to sit in the car to have their picture taken.  Line forms behind me!

EAS_9823-X2Warren and Terri Eells of the Villages own this beautiful 1968 Camaro RS Convertible pro-touring car owned by The car started its life in Alabama where Warren found it rust and paint free. A quarter panel and a new GM cowl induction hood were installed but all remaining sheet metal was original GM. Body and paint work was done by Steve Trombley Restorations in Temperance, Michigan. Car was painted with Chrysler Granite Crystal Metallic with black rally stripes.

All other work on the car was done by Warren. The car is powered by a new GM 485 horsepower LS3, with EAS_9821-X2a Tremec T56 6 speed manual transmission, with a GM LS7 clutch, pressure plate and flywheel. A GM performance parts engine wiring harness and ECM was used. Hooker Mid-Length Headers Ceramic Coated mated to a custom stainless 2 ½ exhaust system also an aluminum radiator with dual fans were installed. A new fuel injection fuel tank was installed using a in tank fuel pump,and a RideTech suspension Coil Over package using Strong Arms front upper and lower control-arms, tall spindles, front Muscle Bar, a rear 4-Link cradle, and 4 single adjustable Coil Overs for every corner.

A new 9 inch housing was cut down and new center section installed with 3:73 gears with a posi unit. New engine mounts were fabricated and a Hooker transmission mount installed.  Brakes are 14 inch drilled and slotted 6 piston fronts and 12 inch rears with a hydro boost system, US mag wheels were used with BF Goodrich tires.

Interior includes Vintage air conditioning, New Vintage USA 1968 Series Gauges, all TMI interior seats, door panels and console. RetroSound radio. A new Stayfast Black Convertible Cloth Top was installed.  It’s as beautiful and fearsome as it sounds.EAS_9800-X2

1933, was the lowest point of the depression and the Packard Motor Car Company. When the 10th series was introduced in January 1933, Packard had no idea that the seven plus month production run would culminate with their lowest production year since the 1st series of 1916. Of the 4800, 10th series Packards produced, 1099 Packard Eights were built in the 1002 series in 13 body styles.

Bruce and Kaye Blevins own a rare 1933, Series 1002, Model 627, Packard Convertible Victoria, Serial Number 21.  The history on this particular Convertible Victoria began in Detroit, Michigan. It was the 10th EAS_9802-001-X3Standard 8 Convertible Victoria built and designed by Dietrich for the year. It was then shipped to Goldner Bros., a Packard dealership in Germantown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, to be sold on June 6, 1933.

From the collectibles found throughout the car, it made a number of trips up and down the East coast from Pennsylvania to EAS_9801-X3Florida. In the late 1970’s it was purchased from a Port Washington, Pennsylvania used car lot. Its new owners made many trips between its summer home in Blue Hill, Maine and winter home in Savannah, Georgia. It was then donated to the ACD museum in the 1980’s and remained there until 1998 when its new home became Okemos, Michigan.

The Blevins purchased it in 1999 from Margaret Blackman, hence the car’s name, Margaret. They enjoyed driving it until miles and age required a complete body off restoration which was started in 2004 and completed in 2011.

For many more stunning pictures of the unusual classics at the Villages show, click HERE and HERE.

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Author: Tara

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